St. Mary's junior Jadyn Marshall has the state's No. 2 times in both hurdles. (Raymond Tran photo)
Numbers aside, the toll from the Coronavirus pandemic is incalculable for many of us. High school track and field athletes lost 75 percent of a season in 2020 and many lost some percentage of their season in 2021. Four of the state's 10 sections opted out of any sort of spring sports championships and as a result, a second CIF-State Meet was also lost to the pandemic.
The North Coast, Northern, and Sac-Joaquin Sections made the call in late January not to have spring championship events. The tiny San Francisco Section also opted out.
While meets have sprung up across the state throughout the spring, and other section championships have been held or are on the schedule for this Saturday (Central, Central Coast and San Diego), those in the northern part of the state have had to create their own incentives and goals to continue to train. The emergence of the California State Championship meet to be held June 25-26 at Arcadia High is designed for the state's elite (top 40) hitmakers.
Another such meet, specifically targeted to those northern region athletes without a CIF final available, is the NorCal Track & Field Championships, set for Wednesday, June 16 at Clayton Valley HS. (Pole vault at 2 pm, field events at 2:30 pm, and track events at 4 pm.)
This meet, which will be timed by HighSpeedTiming, is the creation of De La Salle head coach John Harvey, the meet director, who said Diablo Valley College coach Kyle Whitmore shares in the credit for helping to make it happen.
The NorCal Track & Field Championship meet can serve as both a last-chance opportunity for athletes to compete before shutting it down, as well as an eight-days-out tune-up for the unofficial state championship meet.
Among top names expected to compete Wednesday, include Jadyn Marshall, Sydney Johnson, D'Niko Bates, Julia Alexander, Maia Garcia, Spencer Pickren, Sofia Tavella, Mario Giannini, Anthony Trucks, Paul McCants, and Aspin Oliver.
From the first week of April until this past Saturday, Oliver's 43.39 clocking in the 300-meter hurdles stood as the state's benchmark. That time from a dual by the Vacaville (SJ) senior now ranks CA No. 3. For the moment.
Jadyn Marshall, a junior at Stockton St. Mary's (SJ), swept the hurdles at the early-May Arcadia Invitational. His times from that meet of 13.76 for the 110m hurdles and 36.77 for the 300m hurdles both rank CA No. 2.
Marshall should get a nice push from St. Mary's College (NC) senior D'Niko Bates and De La Salle (NC) junior Anthony Trucks. Bates has gone 14.21 (3.9) in the 110s and 38.36 in the 300s, ranking No. 6 and No. 5, respectively, in CA. Trucks has bests of 14.76 and 39.63.
Maya Lacamp, a senior at Lick Wilmerding (NC), who has a best of 4:59.34, and Sofia Tavella, a junior at San Ramon Valley (NC), who has gone 5:05.90, top the girls 1600m field. Tavella is scheduled to come back in the 3200, where she has the fastest entry time, 10:50.66.
The NS is also expected to be represented in the boys eight-lap race and very well could have a champion, as Chico junior Mario Giannini comes in with the fastest entry time (9:10.38). His teammate Liam Sehorn has the No. 2 entry (9:37.26).
Sydney Johnson, a sprinter/jumper/hurdler headed to UCLA from Whitney HS (SJ), has obviously been putting in the work despite a limited season in the SJS. She has PRs of 19-10 in the long jump (CA No. 1), 39-2.25 in the triple jump, 5-5 in the high jump and 14.43.(w) in the 100m hurdles. She is entered in all four of those events at Clayton Valley HS.
In the hurdles race, Johnson will look to hang with Y'Vette Harris 14.27 and hold off Maya Holman (14.94). Alexander, a junior at St. Mary's College (NC), a CIF-State Meet finalist in the triple jump as a freshman, has bests of 18-5 and 38-5.75. Marie Jones of Terre Linda (NC) has a triple jump entry mark of 38-3.
Maia Garcia, a senior at Pinewood (CC), is the state leader in the high jump at 5-8. She's also scheduled to compete Saturday at the CIF-CCS finals at Soquel HS. Garcia jumped her PR at a tri meet a month ago. She went 5-6 to win the WBAL title on June 2. She qualified for the CCS Final at 5-2 and is undefeated in seven meets this spring.
McCants has sprint bests of 10.66 (tied for CA No. 11 among wind-legal marks) and 21.59 (CA No. 20, all conditions times). Christian Tapps, a senior at Pittsburg (NC), has sprint entry times of 10.71 and 22.17.
Spencer Pickren, a senior from Jesuit (SJ), Sean Lacey, a junior at Bella Vista (SJ), and Alex Mader, a junior at Lick Wilmerding (NC) should battle up front in the boys 1600m. Pickren has a best of 4:16.38, Lacey 4:21.59, and Mader has gone 4:21.75 for four laps.
The meet has more than 275 athletes entered into more than 500 events from more than 40 schools.